WASHINGTON - For the second time in less than a month, credit union officials will swarm over the nation's capital, buzzing with calls for regulatory relief.

About 400 industry officials will be attending the National Association of Federal Credit Unions' "congressional caucus" March 27-29, making it the trade group's largest Washington convention yet.

Ken Robinson, president of the Arlington, Va.-based trade group, credited the increase to members' interest in the new Congress and its desire to slash red tape.

"We support very strongly the idea of regulatory reform," Mr. Robinson said.

The trade group will be pushing a legislative package that would establish the National Credit Union Administration as the prime regulator of federal credit unions, meaning that the agency would have absolute authority to interpret how rules from other agencies affect credit unions.

The package also includes plans to reform the Federal Credit Union Act by removing the loan interest rate cap on credit unions; increasing the threshold for review of loans to management to $100,000 from $10,000; eliminating the 12-year maturity limit on loans; and allowing credit union boards to delegate to management the authority to set dividend rates.

But credit unions might have a tough time winning any concessions from lawmakers who are concerned about the demise of Capital Corporate Federal Credit Union, sources said.

Mr. Robinson admitted that would be a hurdle.

"We'll need to burnish our image," he said.

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